U.S. COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING COMMISSION CHARGESTHIRTEEN FLORIDA RESIDENTS AND COMPANIES WITH DEFRAUDING CUSTOMERS OF MORE THAN $6 MILLION
CFTC Charges that Defendants Fraudulently Solicited Nearly 400 Customers to Trade Commodity Options Contracts and Misappropriated Customer Funds
WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced today that it filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, charging that various persons and entities fraudulently misappropriated customer funds solicited by the defendants to trade foreign currency options. The matter has been assigned to the Honorable Judge Ceclia M. Altonaga, United States District Judge.
The defendants are International Berkshire Group Holdings, Inc., Berkshire International LLC, Berkshire International Holdings Group LLC, Berkshire International Holdings, LLC, International IMS Group Holdings, Inc. (a.k.a. IMS Holdings Inc. and IMS Holdings Group, Inc.), IMS Holdings LLC, Harrington Financial Services SLU (a.k.a. Harrington Group, Inc) (Harrington), Richmond Royce Advisory Services, SL (a.k.a. Richmond Royce International Group, Inc.) (Richmond), Oakmont International, LLC, Stratford Advisory Services (Stratford), Boca Raton, Florida, resident Jeffrey Jedlicki (Jedlicki), and Miami, Florida, residents Roxana Sofia Lao Mendez (a.k.a. Roxana Sofia Lao) (Lao) and Beatriz Peralta Quesada (a.k.a. Beatriz Peralta) (Peralta).
The CFTC complaint also names several relief defendants, including FED and Associates, LLC, Geraud Enterprises, Inc., Jeffrey Jedlicki, Inc., International Investments Holdings Corp., and Briscoe and Associates, Inc. The relief defendants are charged only with receiving or holding funds from an illegal scheme.
The CFTC complaint, filed September 29, 2005, alleges that since July 2003, defendant Jedlicki and the corporate defendants defrauded nearly 400 customers who had provided more than $6 million to open accounts to trade foreign currency options contracts. According to the complaint, the corporate defendants transferred most of the customer funds to offshore accounts, from which some of the funds were paid to the relief defendants. The complaint alleges that defendants misappropriated customer funds, as only $95,000 was ever returned to customers of the more than $6 million customers deposited for trading purposes. According to the complaint, defendants Lao and Peralta aided and abetted the fraudulent activities of the other defendants.
The complaint also charges that defendants Jedlicki, Harrington, Richmond, and Stratford illegally offered to customers foreign currency options that were not executed on a contract market or foreign board of trade.
On September 29, 2005, the Honorable Judge Ceclia M. Altonaga issued an order freezing defendants’ assets, prohibiting the destruction of books and records, requiring the repatriation of defendants’ offshore assets, and requiring the defendants to provide an accounting of all of their assets.The court’s order was sealed until December 6, 2005.
The CFTC is seeking preliminary and permanent injunctions against all defendants, repayment to defrauded customers, the return of ill-gotten gains, and monetary penalties for violations of the Commodity Exchange Act. The CFTC appreciates the assistance ofthe Broward County Sheriff’s Office, and Florida Office of Statewide Prosecution.
The following CFTC Division of Enforcement staff members are responsible for this case: Timothy J. Mulreany, Trabue Bland, David Reed, Mary Kaminski, Paul Hayeck and Joan Manley.
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The CFTC encourages members of the public to bring to our attention any suspicious activities involving futures or commodity options, including matters involving foreign currency (forex) investments or suspicious Internet websites.
You may contact the CFTC at 1-866-FON-CFTC (1-866-366-2382), visit us at our Customer Protection web page: (www.cftc.gov/cftc/cftccustomer.htm), or fill out our Internet Report Form identifying your concerns (www.cftc.gov/enf/enfform.htm).
In addition, the CFTC publishes a series of Consumer Advisories at http://www.cftc.gov/cftc/cftccustomer.htm#advisory alerting the public to warning signs of possible fraudulent activity and offering precautions individuals should take before committing funds.
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Paul G. Hayeck